Posted by Lotg (OZ) on August 06, 2004
In Reply to: Give us a call posted by R. Berg (U.S.) on August 04, 2004
: : : Here's another one from my Swedish friend and this time I'll just cut & paste her email and my reply:
: : : HER QUESTION:
: : : How about the very aussie expression "give us a call" or "give us a
: : : minute" or "us" whatever, when you really mean yourself? what's the story
: : : there? I was quite confused in the beginning and still sometimes forget
: : : myself and get confused
: : : MY REPLY:
: : : Gee it's funny what you pick up. And it's even funnier what we live with, without thinking about it. Ummm... OK, ya got me there. I say it too, and I've never really thought about it. It probably originated with someone really meaning 'us' as in a group of people, then lazily (as is sooooo Australian), it just became a habit and anyone said it, even if it was only an individual. I dunno. Just my theory. I'll put that to the Phrase Finders, although if it's Aussie, there aren't too many of us on the site, so they might not know the answer.
: : : On the other hand, many of our 'Aussie' sayings are really derived from our working class Anglo Saxon origins many moons ago, so it might really be English originally. I'll ask anyway.
: : : THE END
: : : So that was her question, that was my reply. Can anyone shed any light as to why we say 'us' when we really mean 'me'???
: : It's certainly very old in the UK, mainly England. Perhaps it's a bit like the royal 'we' - to make a plural out of a singular may give emphasis.
: It does sound British. Americans don't use "us" for "me," at least in my hearing. Do nonroyal Brits use "we" for "I," too?
Can't speak for the poms, but Aussies would never say 'we' unless they were joking (or w*nkers). It would be too pretentious.